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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

wild rice stew


Until about a decade ago, I was blissfuly unaware of Wild Rice. I was introduced to it when I lived in Eugene, OR: I found it at The Kiva store which was one of my favorite haunts :)

Wild rice is expensive as it is not abundant and not easy to harvest. I like the chewy texture, color and size of the grains. It works great for making stuffing, usually.

One of my garage sale finds is a 5-qt crock pot we bought for $5! I love to use it as best as I can...

This wild rice stew is a hearty and comforting meal - just a bowl of it fills me up. I like to throw the ingredients in a slow cooker or crock pot late tonight, leave it on low to be ready for dinner tomorrow night.

But, this recipe can be made faster if some preparation can be done ahead of time. Wild rice takes longer to cook: i like to soak wild rice for about an hour or longer before cooking it just like any other long grain rice on stove top, and use about 2 to 3 measures of water per measure of dry rice to get a smooth soft texture. (Sometimes, if i remember, i try to soak the wild rice in the morning, on my way out to work, and then come home in the evening and cook the rice.)

A good wild rice stew takes a bit of time though, that's why i like the slow cooker method when possible:)

1 cup wild rice, soaked for an hour or longer
1 medium potato sliced or diced
6-8 baby carrots chopped (or regular carrots
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2-3 thai chilies or jalapenos, diced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans or chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 Tbsp canola oil

spice mix:
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp all-spice powder
1 tsp oregano powder

water as needed
salt to taste

chopped spring onions, chives, cilantro


heat oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt, sauté till onions turn a little brown

add the spice mix, sauté till the spices bloom

add the wild rice, with 3 to 4 cups of water, add the vegetables and beans, cover and cook till rice is done

simmer the stew till desired thickness, adjust spices to taste, garnish with chopped spring onions and herbs, serve warm,

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